Friday, January 29, 2010

The Presence of Absence

In a recent Slate article, writer Daniel Gross notes a relative decline in U.S. presence at the World Economic Forum.
The smaller U.S. presence confirms that the world's economic geography is shifting. The United States matters less than it used to, and the U.S. financial sector is continuing to shrink. This was evident as well at the most important activity at Davos—the nightlife. For a certain subset of the attendees, the high-minded conferences during the day are simply prologues to a series of receptions, dinners, nightcaps, and after parties.... The party staged by Forbes, the swashbuckling celebrator of capitalism, American-style, was sedate, sparsely attended, devoid of young people.

Mr. Forbes, a quick aside, if I may: You may dismiss the Davos dancehalls as a garnish, the conference equivalent of parsley -- charming, pleasant to look at, but ultimately little more than a festive visual complement to the meat and potatoes of the conference sessions* -- but as a representative of the United States, you have an obligation to party like it's 1999 even if you're feeling a little more 1929. "Sedate" and "devoid of young people" is a description for a water aerobics class, not a party. The private sector exercises extraordinary influence via unofficial cultural diplomacy, and it pains me to announce that your tepid gathering reflects poorly on the entire nation. When your DJ neglects to blow the speakers up, the terrorists win.

I have a modest proposal from which I believe we both can benefit. To fulfill your civil obligations, you are clearly in need of exuberant young people, unmarred by any connection to the current financial crisis. As it happens, I am intimately acquainted with a number of young patriots who would be only too happy to supply the services you so desperately seek. You provide the venue, and my associates will gladly fulfill their patriotic duty and draw the world's attention to your prestigious company, and our great nation, once again. It is -- and I mean this sincerely -- the absolute least I can do.

* That's a metaphor, kids. Try it at home, but stretch first.

1 comment:

  1. Niceeeee :)) Wouldn't mind joining the party, either ;)

    the post reminded me of a story that caused quite some uproar at the time... but well, as long as it was for a noble cause ;),1518,665182,00.html

    still surprised Forbes was unable to make it a memorable experience O_o !!